Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Breaking News - HWSS is Official

It is Official!!

Because of the close relationship between the HWSS Research Group and the Bannasch Laboratory, UC Davis, we have been aware for sometime of the progress that has been made, and now we can share this publicly.

The very existence of HWSS and that it is of genetic orign of it has been questioned by many people throughout the Connemara Pony breeding world. Those who have not seen or personally experienced the condition are reluctant to accept that such a serious problem could be lurking within their beloved breed. Understandably the recurring call has been the need for scientific proof that this is not simply an environmental or management issue, but a genetic one. Now because of the dedication of a number of breeders and individuals throughout the world, we have that proof! UC Davis has released the following information into the public domain.

While this may only be the first official statement regarding research into HWSS, we believe that now is the time for an open acknowledgement that there is a cause for concern, but that there is a way out of the situation.

The ICCPS Annual General Meeting is coming up, as is the Technical Meeting. With so many delegates from breed societies around the world present for these, the research group group sincerely hopes that the UC Davis release on HWSS is enough scientific proof to acknowledge the condition, and start a constructive discussion on the issue.

For further research to continue, UC Davis needs the help of Connemara Pony owners and breeders worldwide. They need more samples from ponies, and the sooner they get them, the sooner we will have a test for the condition. The ICCPS are in a unique position to facilitate this. An education campaign to the daughter breed societies would rapidly add to UC Davis' collection of samples. Additionally, breed societies could vastly aid breeders and owners by coordinating the collection and shipment of blood samples to UC Davis. What a huge pro-active and positive step for the breed that would be!

The Connemara Pony community needs to start talking now about how to deal with the problem when a test is commercially available. There will be a time lag between the research phase being completed and when testing becoming commercial available, but that should not stop us from calmly, and rationally, discussing how this issue will be managed to the betterment of the breed.

We are not the only breed society to have faced such issues - both the Fell Pony breeders and the New Forest Pony Breeders have faced similar problems over the genetic issues in their respective breeds. And like the conditions in the above breeds, we do not believe that HWSS will be limited to just the Connemara Pony - this research will likely benefit horses worldwide.

We know the test is coming; let us as a cohesive community be positive and ready. Let the Connemara Pony community worldwide be ready and waiting to embrace the new technology as soon as it becomes available.